Monday, November 19, 2012

Salted Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars

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I don't really have any profound comments for this recipe, other than I just really wanted to combine pecans, caramel, shortbread and chocolate into something  delicious.  They were delicious!

I owe my mom and dad a big thank you though, because they got me a food photography "How-To" book, that I immediately read upon receiving.  I had to make something today so that I could try out all the tips, so that was really motivating my baking today.  Sadly, by the time I was done baking, I had lost almost all the daylight, but I worked with what I had, I will have more chances to practice.  It was so fun to implement what I learned, and hopefully my photos will continue to improve.

Salted Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars


(Adapted from The Joy of Baking's Shortbread Cookies)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
(Adapted from Chewy Caramel from All Recipes)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pound light brown sugar
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces roasted and salted pecan halves, broken up
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  •  course sea salt


  1. Line a 9x13 in. baking dish with parchment paper.  Make sure it extends up all four sides.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a medium bowl  cream butter until smooth and creamy.  Add sugars and cream together for another minute, until smooth.  
  3. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated well.
  4. Add the flour, corn starch, and salt and mix until just combined.
  5. Using your hands or a spatula, press the dough into the prepared pan until it is evenly distributed.  
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until lightly golden.
  1. While the shortbread cookies, in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 242 and 245 degrees F.  Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.    
  1.  Once the shortbread is out of the oven and has cooled slightly, evenly distribute the pecan pieces over the entire shortbread.
  2. Once the caramel is done, poor it evenly over the pecans/shortbread, making sure all of it is covered.
  3. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the entire caramel surface and allow to sit until they all turn shiny, which means they have melted.  Once they have melted, use a knife or offset spatula and evenly coat all the caramel with the chocolate until none of the caramel can be seen.
  4. Allow to cool on the counter for several hours, sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt,and then place in the fridge for 30-45 minutes, just until the chocolate hardens.
  5. Remove from fridge, lift out using the parchment paper and place on a flat surface.  Using a large, sharp knife, cut in to approximately 72 pieces (6 rows by 12 rows).
  6. Enjoy or put in fridge to continue to set up.  Store in refrigerator.    

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